Between 1993 and 2003 he took ten years off active farming and, with his wife Kathy, set up a successful game fishing and diving business in the Solomon Islands.
When he returned to New Zealand he was initially elected as Chair of Federated Farmers’ Dairy Section for Hauraki/Coromandel. He was then elected to the Thames-Coromandel District Council and also to the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council where he served for nearly nine years. During his time on the Shareholders’ Council, where he was on the Leadership Team, he was charged with revising the Co-operative Principles and was Co-Chair of the Governance and Representation Review Joint Working Group with the Fonterra Board.
Currently Dirk and Kathy are milking just over 900 cows on two farms close to the township of Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula, having started with a 135 cow farm. They have set up two QEII bush covenants on their farm and intend to continue their program of native bush protection.
Dirk has always had an interest in quality governance and apart from the Fonterra Governance Development Program has successfully completed the Rabobank Executive Development Program in Sydney.
He is a member of the Seachange Stakeholder Working Group, a non-statutory body charged with developing a Marine Spatial Plan for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, which aims to increase abundance of aquatic life and includes water quality issues in the catchment areas in the northeast Waikato and Auckland regions.
Dirk was recently elected to the governing council of the NZ Red Devon Cattle Breeders’ Association.